The Verkhovna Rada is back at work after a long vacation. During its first working week, it plans to address the following issues: transfer of Cabinet’s powers to the level of ministries and agencies, simplification of the procedure for early elections of communities’ heads, and appeal to the international community concerning Russia’s attempt to conduct its parliamentary election on the occupied territories of Ukraine.
The Cabinet wants to give away some of its uncharacteristic powers (draft bill #5052 of February 9, 2021)
Status: first reading.
Who is affected: Ukrainian citizens, businesses, civil servants, the Cabinet, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Healthcare, the Ministry of Economy, etc.
Summary of the bill: 55 uncharacteristic powers will be taken away from the Cabinet, in particular:
- to determine salary budgets for local state administration employees (they are already determined by the Law on Government Budget)
- to define the grain declaration procedure (the authority to do that will be transferred to the Ministry of Economy)
- to approve blank forms of identification cards and armbands of the members of citizens groups for the protection of public order and state border (the Ministry of Internal Affairs will be responsible for that)
- to determine which population categories are required to undergo periodical medical examinations (the authority to do that will be delegated to the Ministry of Health).
What is right:
- whenever possible, the authority should be exercised by the most specialized body. Since the Cabinet has a huge amount of responsibilities, it sometimes cannot properly perform all of its functions
- an unprecedented case for Ukraine when a government body is trying to optimize its own powers.
What’s next: if the bill is adopted in the first reading, MPs will propose further amendments and proposals and start preparations for the second reading.
Update for the procedure of termination of powers of communities’ heads (draft bill #5241 of March 12, 2021)
Status: first reading.
Who is affected: Ukrainian citizens, the Verkhovna Rada, heads of communities, and local councils.
Why this is important: in the last years, there were several cases when local councils failed to start early elections after heads of their communities died. The draft bill proposes to change the procedure of launching early elections for such cases.
Summary of the bill:
- more persons will be authorized to officially notify the Verkhovna Rada about the early termination of powers of a local community head. As of now, only the acting head has such authority. The bill proposes to grant the right to notify the Parliament also to the deputy head responsible for the work of executive bodies of the local council, the secretary of the executive committee, and local councilors in cases when the acting head fails to notify the Verkhovna Rada on time
- it will be easier for community heads to resign. As of now, a local council has to vote on the termination of powers of the local head upon receiving the letter of resignation. The bill proposes to simplify the procedure and allow local heads to resign by just announcing their resignation at a session of a local council or by submitting a written letter of resignation if no sessions are scheduled
- the bill also proposes to change the procedure of termination of powers of local heads that terminated their Ukrainian citizenship. As of now, the powers are terminated from the moment when a local council adopts a decision recognizing that it received information on the termination of citizenship. The bill proposes to terminate the powers of a local head from the day citizenship was terminated.
What is right: if local councilors are able to notify the Verkhovna Rada about the termination of powers of a community head it will become impossible for the acting head to deliberately block early elections.
What is wrong:
- if powers of village, settlement, or city head can be terminated without consent from the local council, government bodies or third parties will be able to pressure local heads to make them resign. For example, if a local head resigns by submitting a resignation letter, local councilors will not even be able to check whether he or she resigns voluntary or under pressure
- the day of termination of citizenship cannot be the moment of termination of powers of village, settlement, or city head because a person not always reports this fact, in particular, not right away. As a result, decisions made by such a person during the period between the day the citizenship was terminated and the date when this fact was uncovered will become legally questionable. It violates the legal security principle and hence violates the Constitution.
Additional information: it is necessary not only to simplify the procedure of calling early elections of communities’ heads but also to update the deadline for making such decisions from 90 days to 60 or 45 days. As of now, a community can stay without its elected head for near half the year.
Appeal to the international community concerning the preparations for conducting the election to the State Duma of the Russian Federation on the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine (parliamentary draft resolution #5497 of May 17, 2021)
Status: consideration of the substance of the matter.
Who is affected: government bodies, international community.
Summary of the resolution:
- recognizes that the intent of the Russian Federation to conduct the election to the State Duma on the occupied Ukrainian territories is a violation of the international law
- appeals to the Security Council and General Assembly of the UN, the OSCE, NATO, other international organizations, parliamentary assemblies, parliaments, and governments of the UN member states to warn the RF against conducting its election on the occupied Ukrainian territories, in particular, to warn it about resulting sanctions and non-recognition of the results of the election.
What is right: this political decision is in line with the legal stand of Ukraine on non-recognition of the annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol and non-recognition of automatic acquisition of Russian citizenship by Ukrainian citizens.
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